1 Record trade surplus for Germany (BBC) Germany’s trade surplus hit an all-time high last year as the country continued to export significantly more than it imported. German exports climbed 1.2% to 1.2 trillion euros in 2016, while imports rose 0.6% to 954.6bn euros. This left a surplus of 252.9bn euros, up from 244.3bn euros in 2015.
It comes days after Donald Trump’s top trade advisor accused Germany of exploiting the euro to boost exports. Peter Navarro alleged the euro was a German currency in disguise, and this gave Germany an unfair advantage over the US and other nations. A low currency makes goods cheaper to sell abroad.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the claims, however, stressing it always been her country’s policy that the European Central Bank should pursue an independent monetary policy. The German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said that the euro was in fact too weak for Germany.
2 More tourists in Dubai than New York, Rome (Gulf News) Dubai attracted more than 14 million visitors in one year, making the city one of the most visited destinations in the world, according to data released by Euromonitor International.
The market research firm, which ranks cities according to international visitor arrivals, named Dubai as the seventh most popular city for travellers, with total guests reaching 14.2 million in 2015, up by 7.6 per cent from a year earlier.
Dubai is the only city from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region to feature in the top 10 or 20 rankings and is outperforming other tourist hotspots like New York, Rome and Miami. Hong Kong remained the top city destination in the world for the seventh consecutive year, with 26.7 million international visitors as measured in 2015.
Bangkok overtook London as the world’s second most visited city, with 10 per cent jump in international arrivals. London moved down to the third spot in the global ranking but remained the top European city destination.
Euromonitor said that the travel industry continued to face some challenges, including terrorist attacks, geopolitical conflicts and economic uncertainty, but the ten best performing cities remained resilient.
3 Instagram generation and food waste (Rebecca Smithers in The Guardian) A generation gap in attitudes towards cooking and eating is helping to fuel the UK’s food waste mountain, research reveals, driven by time-poor millennials who do not understand the value of the food on their plate.
In contrast to savvy older consumers familiar with post-war rationing, those aged 18 to 34 are preoccupied by the visual presentation of food to photograph and share on social media while failing to plan meals, buying too much and then throwing it away.
The UK churns out 15m tonnes of food waste a year – of which 7m tonnes come from households. The estimated retail value of this is a staggering £7.5bn, and the government’s waste advisory body, Wrap, calculates that a typical family wastes £700 of food a year.
A national supermarket study of the food waste patterns of 5,050 UK consumers reveals nearly two-fifths of those aged over 65 say they never waste food, compared with just 17% of those under 35. The research by Sainsbury’s found more than half (55%) of 18- to 34-year-olds had a “live to eat” attitude to food – more about pleasure than necessity but with higher shopping bills and more waste.
Older generations were more likely to “eat to live” with lower grocery bills and reduced waste. Millennials – those born in or after the mid-1980s – were also the most likely to try unusual recipes to create Instagram-friendly dishes, involving exotic ingredients that are harder to reuse.